Thursday, November 11, 2010
Sikh soldier in the US army
Can you find an American in Indian Army? Ow, lots of people or groups may come forward with lots of issues, if such a thing happens...they will create problems after problems...But now there is an Indian-born man in the US Army, that too with all his religious signs! Difficult to believe?
Twenty six year old Simran Preet Singh Lamba became the first enlisted Sikh soldier in the US army. He managed this without shedding his turban and other articles of faith. Too hard to believe? You have to...
Recruited by the Army in 2009 through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) programme for his language skills in Punjabi and Hindi, Lamba completed basic training with his turban and unshorn hair at Fort Jackson outside Columbia and became a US citizen.
Lamba was initially told that his Sikh articles of faith would likely be accommodated.
But, in March 2010, his formal request for a religious accommodation was denied. Lamba appealed the decision, and his appeal was accepted in September 2010.
This may be a new news to many of us. But there were many Sikhs in the US Army before this.
Sikh soldiers served in the US Army as far back as World War I. Thousands of Sikh soldiers helped liberate France in WWII. Today, apart from India, Sikhs serve in the militaries of England, Canada and Austria, among others, often alongside American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.Above this, recently in March, Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan, a dentist, became the first Sikh commissioned officer to complete basic training in more than two decades. In September, Captain Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a physician, became the second Sikh commissioned officer to complete basic training. The addition of Lamba to the group of Sikh military graduates is a critical step forward in proving that Sikhs can successfully serve in the US military.
"I am thrilled to serve with my fellow soldiers and serve the United States of America," Lamba said.